Review by dudeoflife17

"Good, but whats all the fuss about?"

Final Fantasy VII appears to recieve the most talk and recognition of any Final Fantasy game, and nearly any playstation game. Having only played it for the first time recently, years after its original release, its somewhat difficult for me to comprehend what all the fuss is about? I do understand that for its time it was a revolutionary game, and I have a strange habit of checking the dates on games when I play them so as to see just who innovated something first etc; however, many people still seem to think that this game is great even compared to todays games, and practically every final fantasy fan Ive encountered says that this is the peak of the franchise and it only got worse after. I feel inclined to disagree with all of this.

Gameplay:

The actual game was certainly fun, at least fun enough to convince me to stick with it for the 50 some odd hours it took me to beat it ( I dabbled in the side quests but did not complete all of them, though I did fully level up all my characters and magics and gather all of the best equipment and armor). The game felt a bit rushed towards the end, but maybe that it was just me trying to rush towards the end- but dont take that as me saying that I wasnt having fun. The enemies were interesting, battles werent too tedious ( which is a problem that most rpg's that Ive encountered face), and the plot development kept me on my toes. Most Final Fantasy games, and role playing games in general, try to innovate a new battle and leveling up scheme for each new game. Im not sure quite how innovative FF7's was, it might have been the first of its kind but I cant say for sure as Im no video game historian. But it was the first time I had played a game with such a system, and the system its self worked out reasonably well. I guess you could call it the 'materia' system, materia is a magical rock or something like that which can be found or purhcased around the planet that the game takes place on. Each piece of materia has a different property to it, some summon creatures, others allow you to use magic spells, and others bestow interesting abilities on your character ( mug, first strike, death blow, etc). Added to this is the fact that you equip the materia based on how many slots are available in the armor and weapon your character currently has equipped ( it varies by armor and weapon). While equipped youll also notice that the materia effects your characters stats, either being a minus to something or a plus to it. Materia its self can grow based on the AP it receives ( AP being something you receive after a victorious battle) and as it grows it will have new properties and powers. Overall this system works and will keep you interested enough to search for different materias and experiment with different combinations on your characters; however its certainly not a perfect system, as there appeared too many points in the game where I had lots of materia that I wanted to level up so I could stronger, but I there werent enough good weapons available at the same time with enough slots to fit most of this. Meaning you must spend countless hours fighting to level up one set, then switching your slots and fighting for countless more hours. I guess thats to be expected, but it wasnt as enjoyable as I wouldve liked and it was a bit tedious. My thoughts are that if your going to make a truly tedious system and make gamers fight countless battles to earn experience that you also need to make the system worth it. Final Fantasy 8 junction system made it worth it for me as I could effect every stat on my character with the time I spent on the system, but in ff7 it never seemed to matter as much. I feel that I couldve saved myself twenty or thirty hours and just rushed through the game without leveling up materia- which brings me to my next problem. The game wasnt that difficult, and thus not that fulfilling. I dont find myself to be the most talented gamer, but I cant recall dying once in my 50 some odd hours of gaming. Until the last few bosses I hardly broke a sweat. Really I think the difficulty pales in comparison to other Final Fantasies Ive played, such as FF8 and FF10. Still, overall the gameplay was solid and if I truly hated it I wouldnt have continued, so the fact that I played for so many hours as all rpg's make you do, is a testament to a solid gameplay system

graphics:

I dont know too much about technology so I cant comment in depth on the graphics, but Ill say that most backgrounds looked pretty good,even comapred to some modern day PS2 games.; however, the characters looked awful. When adventuring around the world and in a number of in game cut scenes your characters appear with terrible deformed heads and bodies and hands, its just painful to watch. What were they thinking? I forgave the creators of the game based on the fact that this was many years ago and it doesnt seem to have occured in any Final Fantasy game since, so thankfully they learned their lessons. There are also a number of what I guess are cg scenes in the game, and they look quite good. Not nearly as awe inspiring as later FInal Fantasies and other rpg's, but still quite good. I only wish that there had been more of them and less of the deformed body characters. Also, the battle animations are pretty good, with the characters losing their deformed appearances for more normal ones, and most enemies and attacks and spell graphics looking pretty good. So overall graphics were quite acceptable if not very well not, yet still no where near later games.

sound:

Im really not one for video game music, never have liked it, probably never will. The biggest compliment I can give this game is that there were fewer tracks which annoyed me than other games Ive played. Still, I cant think of any really memorable tracks, but maybe there were a few. Regardless, dont listen to me cause I just dont like video game music.

story:

what drives a normal rpg like Final Fantasy is the story, the plot development, and the characters. FF7 is no different , and there is plenty of story and developments to go around. My problem is that all I heard before playing this game was how revolutionary and fantastic this story was, and even if you play it today in 2004 and the graphics and game play system and sound dont compare to current game standards,the story is timeless and above and beyond everything else. I guess people got my hopes up too much, so now Ill take it upon myself to crush yours- it wasnt anything special. Wait, let me make a correction. It was good until the end. I was definitely interested in the beginning, quite excited to discover the mysteries of the characters and the events taking place in the game, but when all was said and done I felt like something was missing. It really wasnt fulfilling, and I dont feel that it ended as well as it led on that it would. It seems to build up and up and up and then just die down suddenly, leaving you wondering what happened? There werent too many plot holes but a few which annoyed me, but thats fairly common in any game. Still, the plot really wasnt anything fantastic in my opinion. Good at first, then getting better, then bad bad bad!!! The characters themselves were decent,not great, not bad. For the most part they arent terribly deep, yet perhaps they were deeper than they let on cause I still liked them as much as any character in ff8, which is supposed to be THE character driven story. They fill all the basic roles that game characters have tended to fill, and there are a few nice back stories. So overall the story is good, but not anywhere near as great as I thought it would be, or as it led on it would be.

Overall:

FF7 is a quality game, and I doubt that many people even today will play it and not enjoy it. For a game that was made in like 1997 or something like that to still be playable in 2004 with the quality of games we have now is quite the accomplishment for square. Still, please dont go around exclaiming the greatness of this game as there are games that have done what this game did since, and theyve done it much better. You could argue that since it was the first of its kind that is the greatest thing of all, and I guess Ill let that go- so yes being the first of its kind and being such a good game that is a great thing. But past that Im not willing to spout words of praise for this. Its definitely a quality game, but theres plenty of games that I like better. I might find myself picking up this game at a later date and playing it again, and maybe finding a new appreciation for it as well. But right now Ive given it all the praise that I deem it worthy of receiving.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/05


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